Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that occurs when melanin, the pigment in your skin, becomes over-produced. There are a really large amount of different things which can cause hyperpigmentation, which is why it is so common for people to experience it.
The most common causes of hyperpigmentation:
Sunspots. Sunspots are a common skin condition where the skin becomes dark and discolored. The color of sunspots varies depending on the person's race, but they are commonly brown or black in color. The cause of sunspots is exposure to ultraviolet light from either natural sources such as sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning beds. Sunspots can be prevented by avoiding overexposure to these sources and using sunscreen when outside for long periods of time.
Skin Inflammation. Inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation by releasing inflammatory mediators like cytokines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These substances are responsible for the redness of inflammation and they also stimulate melanocytes to produce more pigment in order to protect against UV rays.
Other medical conditions. Possible medical conditions that can cause hyperpigmentation are: Acne, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Hormonal changes (e.g. pregnancy), Infection or inflammation in the skin, Diabetes, Vitiligo, Skin Cancer, Side effects from medications (such as antibiotics and antihistamines) and Liver disease.
Age Spots. Age spots are caused by a type of skin cell called melanocytes. These cells produce the pigment that gives your skin its color, and they also help protect you from sun damage. When melanocytes die off or stop working as they should, age spots can form on the skin's surface. They're most common in people with fair skin who have spent a lot of time in the sun without using sunscreen or protective clothing.
What is Vitamin C and how does it help Hyperpigmentation?
In the skin, vitamin C converts into a powerful antioxidant called ascorbic acid.
There are two forms of this compound: L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid. The most common form in food products is L-ascorbic acid, which is found naturally in fruits such as oranges and strawberries.
The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C can help fight against the harmful free radicals that promote skin damage and aging. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps in reducing redness or swelling caused by acne vulgaris (pimples) and erythema (redness due to sunburn).
The L-ascorbic acid also helps to maintain the natural collagen and elastin of the skin.
Does Vitamin C fix hyperpigmentation?
The answer is a resounding yes. And, it's not just about Vitamin C serum.
You can also use other topical and oral treatments to get rid of hyperpigmentation, such as chemical peels, laser therapy or prescription-strength medications, as well as (on a lesser scale) eating foods which contain Vitamin C.
Vitamin C can be found in all citrus fruits in varying levels... So eat up, buttercup!
What to expect?
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that affects many people.
One of the most popular treatments for hyperpigmentation is Vitamin C. You can find Vitamin C in citrus fruits like Oranges and Lemons but also other foods like Cantaloupe, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Strawberries, Kiwi fruit, Papaya, Red bell pepper.
The treatment for hyperpigmentation with Vitamin C can take some time to see results, but there are many benefits that you may notice soon after using it in your daily routine.
For example, the topical Vitamin C in a serum or cream can give skin an instant brightening effect because of the exfoliating and lightening properties of the Vitamin C combined with other ingredients. This is also why exfoliating crystals and clay masks can help, both will also assist in reducing inflammation and acne, which as stated above, can cause and exaccerbate hyperpigmentation)
It's also important to remember that there are many different types and degrees of hyperpigmentation, so one treatment may not work for everyone. In addition, some people may need a combination of treatments to see results, such as prescription medications like tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. (Please consult with your dermatologist if you require a prescription)
Vitamin C Crystals forming under a microscope.
How Often to Use Vitamin C?
It is highly recommendable to use it at least once a day. Of course, you can use it more than that if you want, but the most benefit comes from using it once a day. The best time to use Vitamin C is in the morning before you apply your moisturiser and sunscreen.
You can also apply it at night as part of your nighttime routine just before bedtime!
If you're using this as an anti-aging treatment or in combination with a retinol, do it every other night. Vitamin C is a great way to treat hyperpigmentation, and it has many benefits. It can be taken internally or applied topically, making it easy for people with different routines.
It also doesn't break down in the sun as some other treatments do which is why it is better to use in the morning than some other products like retinols which are best to use at night.
If you plan to add Vitamin C exfoliating crystals to your cleanser, this is also best done 2 times per week, on days that are not the days that you use your Clay Mask which can also help reduce irritation. This is so that you are being a bit more gentle on your skin.
The last thing you want to do is cause damage to your skin barrier (more on this soon) and expose your skin to the risk of added pigmentation issues.